Birds of the Causses and Gorges
La Malène

Birds of the Causses and Gorges

Fauna and flora
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This walk follows the traces of several bird species that illustrate the biodiversity of the Grands Causses plateaux. A trail for seeing and listening… Psst!
The thickets along the edges of the Causse Méjean limestone plateau overlook the Tarn river and provide the ideal conditions for exploring this natural environment suspended between sky and gorge. High up in the sky, proud vultures show off, but smaller birds live discreetly along the path. This project was realised by Méjean Primary School in La Parade. Pupils’ drawings are exhibited at several points of interest along the path.

13 points of interest

  • Fauna

    Common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

    The cheerful idler. When it is not dashing about on the ground looking for insects and seeds, it flutters, displaying white stripes on its wings and tail. You often hear it make a short and clear “pink pink”, but it also sings short, well-rounded notes.
  • Fauna

    Common chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

    The money-changer. Its nickname comes from its song consisting of three metallic notes. At feeding time, this volatile stirrer makes a series of short outings, with a fondness for stationary flight. It won’t shy away from swallowing insects just above the surface of the water either.
  • Fauna

    Red-billed chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)

    The charming crow. This dandy in its black dinner jacket stands out due to its curious curved red bill and its proud and noble look. Slipping gracefully in between cliffs using its primary flight feathers, it seems to wear gloves at the tips of its wings.
  • Fauna

    Eurasian wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)

    The little chubby one. Despite being a featherweight, it is respected for its piercing call. It often starts songs in flight and continues after landing. To feed, this resourceful little bird moves through thickets, rummaging like a mouse.
  • Fauna

    Black tit (Periparus ater)

    The tit without a tie. Within the tit family, it is difficult to distinguish from the great tit. Though it has neither vivid colours nor a “tie”, its loud fluted call makes it as cheerful as the rest of its family.
  • Fauna

    Mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus)

    The ferocious diva. Worried about ending up on some food lover’s plate, it flees at the slightest noise on its wave-shaped flight. Like its cousin, the common blackbird, it has a high-pitched melodious song that gives way to a much harder chattering noise when alarmed.
  • Fauna

    Red throat (Erithacus rubecula)

    The quarrelsome king. With its head tucked into its reddish orange bib and its tail bobbing up and down, it is very easy to spot. Careful! When it fluffs up its feathers and lowers its wings, a fight is about to start.
  • Fauna

    Black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius)

    The drumming carpenter. Armed with its powerful beak, it digs holes to peck insects hidden in tunnels in wood (in the process also drinking the sap that oozes out). It uses the same tool to dig out its nest but it gives itself at least a week for such a job.
  • Fauna

    Goldcrest ( Regulus regulus)

    Small but tough! Tiny, and with a song so high-pitched that it is barely audible, this is a discreet bird. However, it is a good insect hunter, capable of eating its own body weight every day – a diet that helps it confront the rigours of winter.
  • Fauna

    Oak Jay (Garrulus glandarius)

    The colourful sentinel. Its raucous call alerts the whole thicket in times of danger. But it can also imitate the songs of other birds. Its russet coat with its blue piping and its Mexican moustache are certainly exotic. It gathers and hides acorns but does not always find them again at snack time !
  • Fauna

    Eurasian blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)

    The fruit gobbler. A black cap for him, a brown bonnet for her. It often moves about in boxwood trees looking for insects. But most of all it is crazy about ivy berries and mistletoe berries, which it swallows whole, thus helping to spread the seeds.
  • Fauna

    Black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)

    A hyperactive on its perch. With its long pointed wings, it flutters very rapidly, swallowing insects in the process. It has difficulty hiding its agitation as it perches in well-exposed places, rapidly flexing its legs and moving its tail as if it has the hiccups.
  • History


    "Hourtous means 'small gardens' In Occitan. This cliff promontory is a private and designed space, and displays the Occitan cross. Let your eyes be drawn down the 400 m plunge to the narrows and then westwards to the Cirque des Baumes topped by the Sublime Point. At mid-slope you can make out the profile of the Woman with a Parasol and her Court, famous dolomite rock formations.” (M.P Leroy-Delmer)


From Roc des Hourtous, the path runs along the cliff edge, providing beautiful views over the Tarn gorge, before heading back into the brush. After you have gone through the hamlet of Rieisse, you return to the car park on the small road leading to the belvedere.
  • Departure : Belvedere du Roc des Hourtous
  • Arrival : Belvedere du Roc des Hourtous
  • Towns crossed : La Malène


Altimetric profile


You must be particularly vigilant at the edge of the cliffs: stick to the waymarked path only and hold young children by the hand.

Information desks

Tourism'house and national Parc at Florac

Place de l'ancienne gare, N106, 48400 Florac-trois-rivières

https://www.cevennes-gorges-du-tarn.cominfo@cevennes-parcnational.fr04 66 45 01 14

This office is part of the National Park's associated tourist-information network, whose mission is to provide information on, and raise awareness of, the sites and events as well as the rules that must be observed in the National Park's central zone.

On site:  exhibitions, video projections, events and shop Open year-round

Find out more

Tourism office Cévennes Gorges du Tarn, La Malène

Village, 48210 La Malène 66 45 01 14

This office is part of the National Park's associated tourist-information network, whose mission is to provide information on, and raise awareness of, the sites and events as well as the rules that must be observed in the National Park's central zone.

Find out more

Access and parking

On the D 986 between Sainte-Énimie and Meyrueis, at Carnac take the D 43/D 16 towards Rieisse/Roc des Hourtous.

Parking :

Car park at the Belvédère du Roc des Hourtous


Parc national des Cévennes

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